The Sun published a robust article on this controversial topic. We decided to attempt a more balanced version of how the law dictates royals – and the Queen in particular – should respond to a death in their immediate family.
This has become more relevant given the two princes’ determination to raise their children the same way the rest of us do as part our daily lives. And why should anybody with Lady Di’s genes in them do anything else?
A Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family
In 1717, King George 1st introduced a ‘grand opinion’ because he did not like the way his son was raising his kids. This law granted him authority over his grandchildren as a result.
This was after judges ruled the King’s “right of supervision extended to his grandchildren and this right of right belongs to His Majesty, King of the Realm, even during their father’s lifetime”.
This ancient statute means the Queen would become the legal guardian of William and Kate’s children in the event both parents died. This is contrary to the rules of her subjects, although we grant children in direct line of succession may need extra protection when they are minors.
How This Differs from the Rest of Us
Current royalty did not create the ‘grand opinion statute’, and indeed they have no authority to change it or revoke it. Other parents are free of it because they are commoners, and can create a will naming guardian(s) for their children if both of them die.
However, those parents are not bound to do so according to the Express. They don’t have to create a will appointing a guardian and saying how they would like their children brought up. Although many believe they have a moral duty to do so, because this is their only hope of ‘ruling from the grave’.
What Would Happen If Both Parents Died Without This?
It would be up to the law to step in and decide on their behalf. This takes a while and during this time their kids could be in foster care with relatives. While the court mulls over things anyone else can throw their hat into the ring.
Meanwhile the children will have to switch foster parents every six months to avoid an over-strong bond developing. Not appointing guardians could therefore be as thoughtless as not having a will, because we have a duty to act responsibly.
Thoughts on Choosing a Legal Guardian
Childcare says the biggest challenge is accepting that we can pass on at any moment. Once we are over that bridge it’s a question of finding the best match. This can be mission critical if our children are in their teens, and it may be wise to ask their advice.
You also need to have a will so your assets are set aside for your children’s’ support. There is no such thing as a perfect testament, a perfect guardian, or a perfect partner for that matter. However, if we don’t make up our minds we could leave our children’s future in the hands of people we do not even know.